Pikeville, Kentucky (pop. 6,418) is your typical small town more known for its berth along the Virginia and West Virginia borders than its burgeoning basketball program. Pikeville Independent Middle School's hoop program is attempting to change the formerly unheralded notion of the program’s state. Bryan Johnson is the man behind the machine. Johnson’s playing career included a stint at Virgie High School where he started at point guard for two years. Johnson’s coaching has led the middle school to a 17-1 start where calls his team his personal best, and a top three team to ever come through the city. With a pair of tournament championships under their belt, and its only loss coming to Kentucky’s perennial middle school state champions, Pikeville is well on its way to middle school glory. The team is led by Bryan Johnson’s son, who is the starting point guard, and the team’s most talented player judging from game footage released to Scouts Focus. Pikeville’s most recent victory was at the Dorton All-Region Middle School Championships. Pikeville came out with the championship trophy in a 16 team bracket. The win further cemented their ironclad season of consistent blow-out victories. Four players for Pikeville are averaging over double figures in their balanced team-centered approach.
Pikeville highlights from this year
Pikeville first championship of the season came at Pike County Preseason Tournament. The tournament included a 100-2 shellacking in their first game of the season against Kimper Elementary. Kimper (K-8) is a small public school with 180 students in Kimper, Kentucky. Johnson told Scouts Focus that he received “a lot of flack” from the 100-2 victory through various online and local mediums. Johnson told Scouts Focus that these mediums attempted to stir controversy, which he feels unjustified under the extenuating set of the circumstances. Johnson told Scouts Focus that he left his starters in for only 1:48 where they pressed until the lead blossomed to 25-0. Pikeville then proceeded to back up into a 2-3 zone defense for the rest of the half where they ballooned to an unheard of 70-0 lead. Johnson reinserted his starters in the beginning of the second half where he instructed his team to stop playing defense and coax Kimper into scoring. Johnson told Scouts Focus that he had two clear options; to stall the ball or keep playing. Johnson stressed that his goal was to not embarrass any of the opposing kids. Pikeville’s attempts of allowing Kimper to score proved fruitless. Johnson told Scouts Focus that the opposition could not hit any of the many open threes or layups they were coaxed freely into pursuing. Kimper did score on a last second lay-in by 6’0 8th grader Adam Thacker. Pikeville ultimately won the championship game 75-32 over the very talented Virgie Middle School. Johnson informed Scouts Focus that the superintendent and the school board have been rumored to be on the verge of canceling their season and disqualifying the team from playing in the much anticipated county championships. Pikeville will play Kimper again mid-December, where Johnson says he will not bring his 8th graders along. Johnson informed Scouts Focus that he will just use his 6th and 7th graders in the much anticipated and heavily one-sided rematch. Whatever the concerns may be, Pikeville Independent Middle School is on the fast track to building a middle school legacy which will be unmatched for years to come.
Kentucky middle school among nation’s best